Highs and Lows

Nik and I got back from Origins tonight. We had to connect through Memphis and the flight to Seattle was shitty. I swear, the seats are deliberately designed to cause back pain. It takes no more than 15 minutes in one of those for me to feel it, then it’s hours of being uncomfortable. I don’t have a bad back and I sit in all kinds of chairs without difficulty. Something about those airline seats though. I think it must be a conspiracy.

Origins was a show of extremes. High highs and low lows. On the upside, it was Green Ronin’s most successful Origins ever. Sales were excellent, the fans were enthusiastic, we had a lot of demos going on, and our Black Sails Over Freeport adventure won an Origins Award. On the other hand, the GAMA Board of Directors was taken over by a group that will surely move it in the exact wrong direction. While some members of this group are decent folk individually, the puppet masters are lying, duplicitous snakes who are the absolute last people that should be in charge of the industry’s only trade organization. That farce of an election was a black day for GAMA. And it really is a shame because the GAMA staff put on a great show and they deserve better treatment than they’re going to get.

Before the show, I had said to Nik, “You know, I really have no desire to hang out in the Big Bar on Two” (this is a bar in the Hyatt that’s pretty much where the entire game industry socializes after show hours). Naturally, that’s exactly where I ended up on three nights. It was good to catch up with old friends and to meet some of the new faces of the industry. It’s always fun to hang out with John Kovalic, a cartoonist friend of mine and perhaps the nicest, most humane person in the game industry. John has never let his success go to his head, has never gotten cynical and jaded about the biz, and has never left behind the passion for games that gets most of us into this crazy industry in the first place. I admire him for all those things, and for being kind, generous, and above all genuine. The industry could use more guys like Johnny K.

As long as I’m getting all maudlin at 2 am, I should also add that the events of the last eight months (that culminated at Origins) have made me admire my wife even more than I already did. Throughout all the ugly politics, she kept her head, worked hard and honestly, refused to knuckle under to liars and bullies, and conducted herself with the utmost of professionalism. Although often accused of being “volatile”, she did not loose her cool despite the daily attacks on her integrity and the huge amounts of shit thrown at her. In a strange way, the very adversity of the situation seemed to bring out the best in her. It’s my sincere hope that when this is all over with, people will look back on what she did (as an unpaid volunteer, I might add) and show some appreciation for her diligence and dedication. In the short term, my clumsy affections will have to do.

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